IFFA: positivity and potential reign supreme

The day starts early. It’s a sunny one, at that, and the omens are good. I proceed to board a full plane en route to Frankfurt. It can only mean one thing – a trade exhibition is upon us.

IFFA 2022 is my fair of choice. Probably the most important gathering for the meat industry, it’s an innovation platform where every player of the sector (retail trade and butchers’ trade) meet and network. It is highly focused on new technologies and disrupting trends, which makes it extremely rich in terms of content. What struck me, first however, is the overall air of positivity, more so than Anuga FoodTec; not in a competitive sense, I will add, but just more consuming. 

Two highlights from early in the first day illustrate that. 

At the press conference for Multivac, the Group’s presidents, Christian Traumann and Guido Spix, outlined the innovations that Multivac is presenting at the IFFA and how the company intends to shape the future in dialogue with its customers.

As a consequence, in spite of challenging times, the presidents spoke of significant growth and the expectation of a further increase in sales for 2022. You couldn’t argue that such positive business news shows that the company is on the right track.

Switching to Tomra Food, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary with all teams around the globe. The company is high on “intelligent, game-changing products” that improve yields and minimise waste. In addition to more sustainability, this also means increased cost efficiency for meat and poultry processors. I heard about extracting every possible kilogram of saleable raw material, sorting solutions to ensure food safety and the removal of foreign bodies to the avoidance of cross-contamination. 

Alternatives measuring up

A few words must be written about alternative proteins. I’m not going to single out any particular brand here as I felt an overwhelming sense of progression with all.

Plenty of exhibitors had their teams on hand for visitors to learn about new alternatives. There is also sufficient food on show to feed twice the number of visitors attending. The food is very impressive. Depending on your position on plant-based food/alternatives etc, it cannot be denied that as pieces of food, what we are now being presented with, is highly enjoyable. You cannot fault the work that’s gone into producing these culinary delights.

Meat alternatives, as we see at IFFA 2022, are gaining momentum as was pointed out to me several times. Research is leading the way, and no matter what is said about the longevity of alternatives in general, plant-based proteins are finding a way to catch up with their meat counterparts.

A delicious taste is essential but I heard about health benefits, free from as a trend and next generation alternatives that will have the expected texture in chicken strips, kebabs and steaks.

The mood around protein alternatives is one of positivity. From what I’ve gleaned, everything is going well. Stands are fairly busy, with clients taking time to listen, learn and find out whether the offerings fit in with their plans. 

In the main, both exhibitors and visitors are happy to be back, finally. The vibes inside the Messe Frankfurt are very positive and hopefully we can all carry that energy into the rest of the year. There is a lot of optimism and confidence despite the obvious challenges but this particular sector is ready for the year ahead.

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